Back in the days of the early 1990s, before the advances of the Internet, the consumer's only avenue to information about homes for sale was through a real estate agent. Every other week, agents received phonebook-sized periodicals presenting information on properties for sale, with each new entry accompanied by a small, grainy, black and white picture.
Today, consumers can go online instead of going to a real estate office to launch their real estate searches. With a few keystrokes and mouse clicks, they have access to a greatly expanded version of the kind of information that agents used to control. However, once consumers discover a home they want to see, they must contact either the owner or an agent to gain inside access. This is where things get tricky.
Often a consumer signs off the Web and contacts an agent to get inside the home, as if the agent is simply an entry device. As an agent, you need to demonstrate special skills to first qualify the consumer's interest and ability to buy and then to convert the inquiry into a committed buyer client for your business. Chapter 18 gives you ten quick tips to adopt when working with buyers.
Agents as necessary evils: A mindset that comes and goes
The mindset that agents are overpaid and unnecessary to the real estate sale process takes hold of consumers every now and then. This mindset gains momentum especially when a robust market leads to low home inventories and the quick sale of homes that often receive multiple offers during the short time they're on the market.
When times are booming, a segment of consumers and new homebuilders begin to question the value of the agent's services against the associated fees. During the best of market times, some homebuilders even go so far as to sell their houses without allowing agent representation — or compensation.
The silver lining is that when times are good, so many properties are moving that the few listings affected by the agent-is-unnecessary mindset hardly limit opportunity. Plus, booms don't last forever. When the market swings back to neutral, you can bet that competition for buyers will again intensify, inventory levels will expand, days on the market will lengthen, and sellers — including homebuilders — will start courting and even listing with agents again.
Was this article helpful?